SWEDEN. Peoples Choice at the biggest meet in the north of Sweden, Street Meet in Sundsvall, went to an EPA-tractor this year. Where ever Robin Kvarnström stops in the street, people gather. by Lars Krantz
EPA-tractor is a Swedish phenomenon that needs explaining. After WW II Sweden farmers were low on money and in desperate need of tractors. The wars rationing of rubber had put old, sturdy cars as the Chevys and Fords in barns and farmers now started to make tractors out of these.
You have to be 18 to drive a car in Sweden. A tractor you can drive in the street at 16.
In the sixties youngsters started building a new kind of tractors. Keeping the build inside the rules of a farmer-meant-to-be EPA-tractor they built vehicles for use in the street at 16 years of age.
The catch is that they can only go 18 (yes eighteen) mph, but they are still super popular in Sweden and looking at the pics I guess every motor head can imagine why. Now back to Robin.
With fever he raises the trophy to the sky. He hasn’t been sleeping in a week and nor have the family. Every family member has been participating in the battle of making the car ready. You might think they did it in time but as a matter of fact the car is late …by six years!
The one who was supposed to drive the tractor, Fredrik in the first time is turning 22. EPA-tractors in Sweden are for 16 years old. The build then was inherit by the younger brother Christopher but he only sat in it pretending to drive in the garage. When he turned 18 and finally got to drive a real car mom and dad only had one shot left, the youngster Robin. It´ worked and he got the car but only with a couple of months left. Robin is turning 18 soon.
EPA-tractors in Sweden are homemade slow moving vessels originated from cars. After the war farmers did not have access to tractors or money but they had old Fords and Chevys in the barns. Sweden government accepted that the farmers transformed the framed cars to tractors by leaving out some gears and making them move slowly. That loophole in the law has these days made it possible for youngsters to take a framed car, make in run slow and use it for pleasure on the road registering it as a tractor.
The build in this case took 10 years as they sank deep into finish, chrome and paint. The brothers are gathered. Papa Bengt arrives from his work and mom enters the driveway. The family feeling is warm and you can tell these people stick together.
The build started 1998 with a used Epa from a boy who had turned it over. Only thing left from that car is the pink piece on the picture under the front windshield. Dad then dug into the build and set the pace. Parts from 13 cars are in it now. From the beginning it’s a Volvo Duett from the sixties.
They were often used by craftsmen and workers as they were good to have tools and stuff in. The roof was chopped down and now has its metal from a Volvo Amazon. Taillights are from Ford Custom 1954 and the grille is from Opel Record 1962. Hours and hours of work and years and years of building. The front had to be lengthened just a couple of centimetres to get hat smooth line.
The hood opening is moved from front to rear, battery box is turned 180 degrees into the car and holds now the heater. Tons of big and small changes all over the place. The young Robin turned out to be a hard working guy in the garage with specialty in finish.
After ten years the family locked themselves in the garage the final weeks before the car show and worked 24-7.
-People were crawling outside and looking trough the windows trying to catch a glimpse of what was getting done in there, says the family.
Mom did the headliner so good that the rest of the family asked her to do the whole upholstery. That woman made it all with a remarkable result being the first time and all. What a player to throw in on the finish line.
That’s why Robin had fever, the family was exhausted at that car show when they got the biggest price of all –
Peoples Choice. Imagine they beat all the big American cars, and all the fantastic customs with their small tractor made for youngsters.
That’s a true blast. After that they got invited to Sweden’s biggest exhibition for these small home made tractors, Vallåkra, and I guess you already have figured it out…
– Yes they won there too.